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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Same Kind of Different

When we landed in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia, Brian and I were literally the only white people in the airport. And so it began. The thousand differences between me and well....everything else.

The smells were different -- strong and pungent. The sounds were different -- a strange language and trilling tongues going a mile a minute. The music loud and dissonant. The sights were like a flashback in a movie -- scene change after scene change -- some understandable, most not. The kind you hope to understand at the very, very end, but then still don't.

I lost weight because the food was so different -- the bread spongy, the drinks warm, the stew mushy, the coffee harsh. I was so anxious that much of the time I didn't even want to eat, even though the smiling strangers kept shoving tray after tray of native food before me.

I found myself so overwhelmed at times that to keep from succumbing to a meltdown of tears, I had to take my mind to another place. I had to disconnect emotionally to keep from losing it entirely.

When strangers hugged me, I was not really comforted.

I wanted to go home.

I wanted my mom.

As crazy as it sounds, I am so thankful I had that experience. It gave me the tiniest glimpse of what our son will experience when he comes home. I was there one week and fought back tears on a regular basis. What would it be like if I could never go back to what I knew?

Only God knows how long it will take for our little guy to experience his new life with joy. Having a taste of that "same kind of different" may be the most important key to loving him well.

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